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Geographies of Youth Religiosity and Spirituality

Part of the Geographies of Children and Young People book series (GCYP,volume 1)

Abstract

This chapter explores how geographers have studied youthful religiosity, tracing how geographic research has brought into being the figure of the youthful religious subject. The result is a genealogy of geographical thought, starting with a brief consideration of the role of religion in early geographical scientific production. This is followed by a reflection on the construction of the youthful religious figure in contemporary geographical work, which is marked by an interpretation and production of a young religious subject as relational, institutionalized, globalized, racialized/sexualized/classed, and spiritual. The emergence of geographies of religious youth as a historical field is outlined, in which the purposes and means of study that marked colonial preoccupations with categorization are still evident but now rendered through, and arguably transformed by, a diversity of theoretical and empirical engagements. The resulting youthful religious figure of contemporary geographical scholarship is an active religious agent, but one who is always also part of broader social practices, and increasingly important as a national hope, a geopolitical concern, or the embodiment of transgression. It is also a creative figure navigating and negotiating personal religiosity with the symbols and meanings that might be associated with it. These figures of religious youth suggest promising directions for future research. In telling the story of the emergence of a subject of study, this chapter also tells a story of absences and closures, and as a result the chapter concludes by reflecting upon the youthful figures that are evident just beyond the frames of geographical analysis.

Keywords

  • Youth
  • Children
  • Religion
  • Spirituality
  • Geography

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Acknowledgments

Some of the research referenced in this chapter was funded by the British Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Economic and Social Research Council, through the joint Religion and Society Programme.

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Correspondence to Elizabeth Olson .

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Olson, E., Reddy, S. (2016). Geographies of Youth Religiosity and Spirituality. In: Skelton, T., Aitken, S. (eds) Establishing Geographies of Children and Young People. Geographies of Children and Young People, vol 1. Springer, Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-4585-88-0_20-1

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-4585-88-0_20-1

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